Corrected March 25 at 9:30 a.m.: Text "NJCOVID" to 898-211 for messages about what’s happening statewide

WESTFIELD, NJ — Mayor Shelley Brindle announced three new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19, in Westfield Tuesday night — two men, ages 48 and 20, and a 41-year-old woman. All three are managing symptoms at home, she said.

It brings the number of confirmed cases in Westfield to 16.

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New Jersey announced 846 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 new deaths Tuesday. Health Commissioner Judy Persichelli said the statewide total now stands at 3,675 — the second most among the 50 states.

The death toll state-wide is now up to 44.

Brindle was the only member of Westfield’s town council physically present at its meeting Tuesday night. Other members of the town council called in. Among the few people in the room was Health Officer Megan Avallone, who gave an update to the council and public via livestream on the town's Facebook page.

“As many of you know, unfortunately this week we had our first COVID-19 fatality in Westfield,” Avallone said.

“It was a 91-year-old resident with several co-morbidities. This is truly a heartbreaking reminder of why it’s so important that we really do our best to be compliant with the guidance that we’re hearing everywhere,” Avallone said. “Social distance ourselves, stay home when you’re sick — that includes not going to any stores when you don’t feel well — and washing your hands frequently.”

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The number of cases in New Jersey is rising quickly and community spread is ongoing, Avallone said. The people most at-risk to develop serious illness from the coronavirus are include people who are 65 and older, people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility and people of any age that have heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, especially if these conditions are not controlled, she said.

The good news, she said, is that Union County’s first drive-through testing site opened Monday.

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The test is being offered to Union County residents, Union County first responders and essential personnel who have a prescription from, and an appointment made on their behalf by, their healthcare professional. 

Residents can use the state’s self-assessment tool at self.covid19.nj.gov to learn if they should contact their primary care physician to get an appointment for a test.

A new call center with an easy number to remember, 211, lets residents learn more about the coronavirus-related activities in New Jersey. To stay informed via text message, text “NJCOVID” to 898-211 for messages about what’s happening statewide, Avallone said.

Brindle thanked Avallone for the work she’s been doing for the eight municipalities that the health department serves.

“Thank you, and I’d like to say, it’s not just me,” Avallone responded. “You know, we have a whole team at the health department that is truly working around the clock to make sure that the work gets done day and night and during the weekends, too.”

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